Posted on NASA Spaceflight, James Webb Space Telescope one step closer to launch.
The joint NASA/ESA/CSA James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) has passed its critical final mission analysis review — clearing the way for a late 2021 launch from the Guiana Space Centre in Kourou, French Guiana on an Arianespace Ariane 5 rocket.
With this review completed, Arianespace and JWST teams can now begin final launch preparations. With a launch readiness date of October 31, 2021, Webb will soon be transported to French Guiana where it will be mated with its designated Ariane 5 rocket.
The mission analysis review, carried out by Arianespace and ESA, confirms that all launch systems — such as the telescope, rocket, ground systems, and launch teams — are set for launch. The review also confirms that Webb itself and its flight plan are ready for the mission to begin.
“We are thrilled to have passed this important step towards the launch of Webb and to have received the green light from Arianespace and NASA,” says Peter Rumler. Rumler is the project manager for the JWST at ESA.
When the telescope launches, it will experience a wide range of forces, such as vibrations and temperature changes and radiation. Therefore, Arianespace performed technical evaluations on important milestones of the mission’s ascent for the review, such as the launch trajectory and separation of the telescope from the rocket’s upper stage.
About time, since Hubble may be dead.
The James Webb Space Telescope is due to launch on Saturday (Dec. 25) during a 32-minute window that opens at 7:20 a.m. EST (1220 GMT). The massive observatory will blast off from Kourou, French Guiana, atop an Ariane 5 rocket operated by European launch provider Arianespace. You can watch launch coverage live at Space.com beginning at 6 a.m. EST (1100 GMT) courtesy of NASA or you can watch directly at the agency's website.
ESA launch kit (PDF).
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